NORTHERN TOUR 7 DAY I TINERARY
The Northern Park of Kruger National Park is considered a birding paradise, which is why this is one of the main points of focus on this 7 day tour. We take it slow and enjoy each detail of this unique environment at the fullest. We are in no rush and can stay at the observation post or potentially interesting animal sightings for some time instead of rushing from sighting to sighting. The area around Letaba is famous for its big bull elephants which we will certainly get to see.
On the first day of the tour you meet your guide in Phalaborwa at your guest house or lodge (we can advise you which lodge might be suitable but this is not included in the price) in the morning, and after handling the entrance formalities at Phalaborwa Gate we start our first game drive:
We spend the morning in search of all the iconic animal species including the Big 5 with your dedicated professional field guide, who will frequent dams, waterholes and riverbeds where animals are most frequently seen to maximize animal viewing opportunities. He will also show you different landscapes and tell you about the importance of vegetation and soil for different animal species that live there.
Later in the morning, we stop at one of the picnic spots or at the rest camp, where your guide prepares a delicious cooked breakfast for you. For lunch, we stop again at one of the rest camps. We continue our safari for the afternoon.
In the late afternoon we reach Mopani Rest Camp. After settling in you can enjoy the fantastic view and sunset from the restaurant platform. Meanwhile, your guide prepares an easy dinner for you.
In the early morning you participate in a bush walk organized by Kruger National Park. These are one of the few ways for tourists to walk in the national park as it is accompanied by two park officials. They go in small groups of no more than 10 people and usually start very early in the morning. The participants assemble at the designated meeting point inside the rest camp and are taken by car to the spot where the walk begins. The walk takes up to 3 hours and is very interesting in that you can observe things that you otherwise wouldn’t take notice of sitting in a car, such as insects, animal tracks and plant species. After return to the camp breakfast prepared by your guide and then safari for the rest of the day, dinner will be at the restaurant in Mopani (cost not included). We spend another night at this camp.
After checkout, we leave in the morning for a safari that will end in Punda Maria, where we will spend the night. In the late afternoon you join the sunset drive organized by the park. At sunset, many animal species are becoming more active after the heat of the day subsides so it is a great opportunity to see them. A sunset drive can only be experienced using official park vehicles as no private cars are allowed to be outside the camp boundaries after sunset and the sunset drive returns after that. Your guide will prepare dinner for you.
Today we’re focusing on birding in the area of Punda Maria which is famous with birders.
In the camp, particularly on the Paradise Flycatcher Trail, yellowbellied and terrestrial bulbul and bearded robin should be looked for while on safari in Kruger National Park. Birding throughout the camp is excellent. Birds of prey are common overhead. Black eagle is sometimes seen, while in winter the whitenecked raven is a regular visitor. The area around the camp is among the most rewarding birding game drive experiences. On a good day one could record several of the following 'specials': Whitebreasted cuckooshrike, crowned hornbill, chestnutbellied (greyhooded) kingfisher, crested guineafowl, gorgeous bush shrike, cape parrot, African and European golden oriole, yellowspotted nicator, stierling's barred warbler and Dickinson's kestrel. Narina trogon has also been recorded, but is shy and elusive. On the drive from Punda Maria towards the South, rackettailed roller and mashona hyliota have been spotted. This is also one of the best areas to search for yellowbilled oxpecker sightings, when you are on safari in Kruger National Park.
In the evening you participate in a night drive after having dinner at the restaurant (own cost). Again it is conducted by the park rangers in an official park vehicle and with a medium size group. Departure is after sunset so you will have dinner before that. The rangers will hand out a couple of strong torches that will reveal the eyes of the nocturnal animals which can be quite a rewarding experience. There is potential of seeing species like bush babies, civet or genet that one cannot observe during the day.
After breakfast and checkout we continue our safari for the rest of the day that ends at Letaba, where we will spend the night. This area is famous for big bull elephants and a museum at Letaba rest camp is dedicated to them. Dinner and breakfast are prepared by your guide.
We check out in the morning and embark on our last safari; the last night is spent in Phalaborwa at a private guest house and you can have a dinner (not included) at a local restaurant on your last evening.
Return home either via Phalaborwa or Hoedspruit Airport. After this memorable tour you will know be an expert on wildlife and especially the birds of Northern Kruger.